The hardest decision to make about this prospect list is not who occupies the top spot but how to alphabetize the team’s name. I’m not sure a dumber thing has ever existed in the world of phraseology than The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Just. Stop.
Although, big empathy for playing in a division with the Astros.
My take coming into this was that the Angels have been on a very strange stretch for a long time. Kind of aimless. I was going to knock the Will Wilson sale. Who drafts a guy 15th just to sell him so you can move a bad contract? It doesn’t get much worse than that, in my opinion, and good on the Giants for raising their hand, taking the dead money and cutting Zack Cozart, who it looks like they might resign. Why do that? He’s a trade-able asset now. Maybe the Angels should’ve done that.
My take right now–after the hellstorm that is our baseball world–is that maybe they’ve finally got a chance. They’ve never had a real chance in that division–at least not for a long time now–because on the one hand you have Billy Beane in the prime of his career, and on the other you have the land of infinite cheating. Texas too has been extremely sharp for periods of the past decade and seems particularly sharp to me right now.
So it’s a tough road whether or not a cyborg squad populates the division. They’ll need to get something out of their pitching development program to have a chance, but the Dylan Bundy gambit could turn out better than the twin cores of Trevor Cahill and Matt Harvey. The Angels are not without interesting pieces in the system, but the vast majority of future impact is on the hitting side.
Player | Age on 5/1/2020 | Highest Level Played | ETA
1. OF Jo Adell | 21 | AAA | Early 2020
If you haven’t heard of Jo Adell, you might be in the wrong room. But no matter: he’s a singer of some renown, famous especially for his resonant breakup ballads and five category topside.
I like him more now than I did in the fall. Maybe it’s just that the chamber is cooling on him. Maybe it’s that time and distance have helped me see him in his context: he’s a physical superhero who’s produced as such in the age-to-level math thus far. No reason to get squeamish now. He even had a multi-hit stretch at the very end in AAA. Lean in, trust the talent, ring the register. He’s a profit where he’s going in redraft leagues. I hope he’s a profit where I got him in the PL live drafts at 75 overall. This is not Lewis Brinson. He will adjust as needed until he can get ahead of the competition.
2. OF Brandon Marsh | 23 | AA | Late 2020
I might seem down on Brandon Marsh when my next round of overall rankings drop, but I’m not trying to harsh everyone’s Arizona vibe. Marsh is exactly the sort of premium athlete you’d expect to show out in a showcase environment, and he has exactly the sort of slow-release bat wrap you’d expect professional pitchers to exploit over the course of a series.
3. OF Jordyn Adams | 20 | A+ | 2023
4. SS Jeremiah Jackson | 20 | R | 2023
5. SS Kyren Paris | 18 | R | 2024
Jordyn Adams can make the diamond seem small. When he’s running, the bases get really close together. His triples take about as much time as a big league single.
I’m sorry Ms. Jackson! Jeremiah is for real! Or not. I mean he hit 23 home runs in 65 games, and that’s probably not real. But real as a human shortstop prospect: he is. He’s also fast enough to steal some bases. Some knock the power as born from a homer heavy context, and that’s fair to some extent, but you have to admit: hitting 23 home runs is better than hitting two or three home runs, and he certainly wouldn’t get a pass if he did that.
Midnight in Kyren Paris is my favorite player to buy in this system. He’s smooth yet twitchy, and I like the combination of torque and control in his swing, but he doesn’t seem to swing much. I’ll be very interested to see where the Angels send him because I think he might hold his own in the Midwest League right away on the strength of his plate patience.
6. OF Trent Deveaux | 19 | R | 2023
7. OF D’Shawn Knowles | 19 | R | 2023
8. RHP Jack Kochanowicz | 19 | NA | 2024
The Angels have long liked to bet on premium athletes no matter how much they have yet to learn about the game, and Trent Deveaux is that. He’s come a long way over the past few years, and he’s got plenty of time to figure it out. Not for nothing, there’s a baseball boom in the Bahamas that’s creating something of a fraternity. Can’t hurt to have a support network of sounding boards facing similar struggles.
Another gifted and growing Bahamanian, D’Shawn Knowles fits much of what I wrote about Deveaux. I love that this team is investing in the islands and think they’ll see pretty incredible return for it.
Jack Kochanowicz comes to California straight from central casting. Some organizations love young arms from the Northeast because of the comparative lack of mileage on their arms, so it was something of a surprise to see the 6’5” Kochaniowicz last into the third round. He had a commitment to Virginia–a baseball power that’s not traditionally kind to arms–so it’s a boon for his outlook that Anaheim ponied up the $1.25 million it took to sign him away. Anyhow, his advantages are obvious, chief among them a release that gives late life to everything he throws but especially to his mid-90’s heater. Big hope here.
9. OF Alexander Ramirez | 17 | R | 2024
10. SS Arol Vera | 17 | R | 2024
I will likely own Alexander Ramirez at some point this year. I’ll probably try to wait until later in the summer because I doubt he’ll play affiliated ball until those summer leagues, but I will be keeping a close eye on the situation all year. He’s the rare underrated plus power J2 guy with enough hit and speed to make it work at present and dream on the long term.
Arol Vera: this guy grows on you. Can also be applied topically to treat burns. J2 kid. Big money. Good body. That’s what she said.